By most accounts, Dallas Police Chief David Brown handled himself admirably and represented the Dallas Police Department honorably in the moments and days following the police shooting crisis. As the face of a department that had apparently shifted from revenue-focused slave patrol tactics to a community policing model, Brown seemed to illustrate the stark contrast between the perceived demons the shooter targeted and the good cops who serve and protect with fairness. One Dallas police officer begs to differ, stating that quotas are at the root of the issue standing between police and their communities across the country, and that Dallas has not changed.
“Officers are under pressure to reach targets. There has to be an end to the arrest and ticket quota that exists within the Dallas Police Department,” Officer Nick Novello told The Daily Mail. “I am sick and tired of the public face of togetherness the chief puts on when he knows there’s a lot of bad feeling behind the scenes.”
Novello says morale was terrible at the department before the recent shooting, which may have been the last straw. Officers are leaving in droves.
“A lot of the Black community are supportive of the police, and that is wonderful, but a large number say police can’t police themselves,” Novello said. “Not only can’t we police ourselves, we go out of our way to protect the predator cop. In my estimation, the quota system is corrupt. You are telling the officer who has a great deal of power that he is required to exercise that and generate funds for the city. Arrests generate money.”
Chief Brown used his platform immediately following the tragic shooting to tell the country that police are being asked to do too much. On that point, Novello seems to be in full agreement.
“We are vastly understaffed,” Novello said. “Last month we lost 48-50 officers, which is unheard of. One officer left to go drive a Coca-Cola truck. Another who was 43 years old retired after 14 years saying, ‘I’m out, I’m out.’ Morale is very low.”
Through his criticism of his chief, Novello emphasized he doesn’t have any personal anger toward him, but he saw Brown’s boasting about recent lowered rates of homicide and violent crime in Dallas as “grandstanding” to take attention away from problems directly affecting the force.
“I believe the public has a right to know. A real right to know and not just receive managed information,” Novello said.
This is not the first time Novello has spoken out. For years, he has been a passionate advocate for police reform who believes ending the drug war, decriminalizing medical marijuana, and getting rid of arrest quotas are the only way to start repairing relations between police and the community, and he is not concerned about being a whistleblower. He believes getting fired for speaking out would only strengthen his position.
“I believe it would give me a platform to speak. Anything I speak about…I can prove everything I say,” Novello said.